5 Signs Your Car Is Leaking Brake Fluid

From a safety point of view, the brakes are your car's most vital component, and they can't function if they don't have enough brake fluid. Also known as hydraulic fluid, brake fluid is necessary to move around the components that make up your car's braking system. Without it, pushing down the brake pedal won't do anything to stop the car.

There are four main places your vehicle can leak brake fluid: the front brake caliper, the rear brake caliper, the brake line, and the brake master cylinder. Wherever the leak is coming from there are five signs you should watch out for.

1. Active Warning Light

If the brake warning light on your dash turns on, you should never ignore it. This is often the first sign you'll get that brake fluid is leaking from the system. In fact, the brake warning light could mean many things, but you still need to visit a service station as soon as possible to have the braking system checked.

2. Spongy Pedal

When the brake lines don't have enough fluid in them, air gets in instead. When air mixes with the remaining brake fluid, that fluid cannot flow correctly — even a small amount of air in the system can be a problem. When you press down on the brake pedal, you may notice that it feels oddly spongy and soft. If your brake pedal isn't responsive, leaking brake fluid is probably the problem.

3. Pedal Depressing Too Far

Another brake pedal symptom you might notice is that it goes down much further than normal when you need to bring the vehicle to a stop. In this case, it's airborne contaminants rather than the air itself that's to blame. When the remaining fluid gets dirty enough, the pedal will begin to move all the way down when you press on it.

4. Pooling Fluid

Brake fluid won't often leak enough for you to notice, but you may see a small pool of fluid beneath your car after it has been parked for some time. Brake fluid is colourless and not as heavy as other vehicle fluids — it feels a little like cooking oil. You should be especially careful to check the ground around your tires since brake fluid often leaks from the lines leading to them.

5. Car Fails to Stop

The final and worst symptom is your car doesn't come to a stop anymore. At first, you might notice a small reduction in stopping power. If you don't do anything about your leaking brake fluid, you'll eventually be entirely unable to bring the vehicle to a stop.

For more information, contact local brake repair professionals.